China’s economy is demonstrating a strong start in 2023, with the National Bureau of Statistics reporting stabilization and improvement in both demand and supply. Key economic indicators have displayed notable improvement during the first two months of the year. The value-added industrial output, which serves as a gauge of activity in the manufacturing, mining, and utilities sectors, grew by 2.4 percent year-on-year in the January-February period, up from 1.3 percent in December.
The rise in demand has also been reflected in retail sales, a key measurement of consumer spending, which increased by 3.5 percent year-on-year in the same period after experiencing a 1.8 percent decline in December. Furthermore, fixed-asset investment, a metric of expenditures on items like infrastructure, property, machinery, and equipment, rose by 5.5 percent year-on-year during the January-February period, outpacing the 5.1 percent rise for the whole year of 2022.
However, the NBS also reported a slight rise in the surveyed urban jobless rate to 5.6 percent in February, up by 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous month. The Bureau also cautioned of challenges from a more complicated external environment and insufficient demand, stating that China’s economic recovery foundation is “not yet solid”.
To mitigate potential challenges, the NBS emphasized the importance of remaining committed to the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability. The Bureau stressed the need to fully apply the new development philosophy on all fronts and work faster to create a new development pattern, and to pursue high-quality development. More efforts will also be made to accelerate the implementation of policies, boost market confidence, and advance the overall improvement of economic performance.
In summary, the latest data indicates that China’s economy is stabilizing and showing improvements in the first two months of 2023. However, there are still potential challenges that need to be addressed to solidify the foundation of China’s economic recovery. The NBS’s guidance on remaining committed to stability and progress, applying new development philosophies, and accelerating the implementation of policies is crucial in ensuring continued economic growth and success.